Princeton Review Names Wellesley Professor among The Best 300 Professors in the Country

April 9, 2012

In its newest guidebook, The Princeton Review profiles Akila Weerapana, associate professor of economics, as one of the nation’s standout professors—but Weerapana’s extraordinary teaching talents have long been known to Wellesley’s students, faculty, and college leadership.

“One of my professors joked that every Wellesley student should take a class with Akila before graduating,” said Melanie Kaplan ’12. “After having heard this and similar remarks from other students, I took their advice and enrolled in Econ 213 last fall. The other students and professors were right, as his love for teaching and passion for economics came through in each class. He truly is one of the best professors I've studied with in my four years at Wellesley and gives his time generously to students.”

Weerapana is featured in The Best 300 Professors (Random House/Princeton Review, 2012), which, according to Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher, was developed “as a tribute to the extraordinary dedication of America's undergraduate college professors and the vitally important role they play in our culture, and our democracy.”  The guidebook notes Weerapana’s commitment to his students: “There is an implicit promise that, in exchange for making them work hard to succeed, he will work just as hard to help them succeed.” One student anonymously quoted in the book said Weerapana “challenged her to look at econ in a different way.”

Weerapana has published work in the areas of international economics, the economics of conflict, and the political economy. At Wellesley, he has taught classes in macroeconomics and international economics at all levels of the curriculum. He enjoys reading academic research in many areas of economics but notes a particular fondness for teaching macroeconomics, a passion that is not lost on his students.

“I particularly enjoyed his International Finance and Macroeconomic Policy course last fall because he linked the Eurozone crisis into each lecture,” said Kaplan. 

In 2002, Wellesley awarded Weerapana with the Pinanski Prize, the College’s highest teaching honor. According to the award citation, specific words and phrases appeared again and again in the student nominations of Professor Weerapana: dynamic, engaging lecturer, dedication, passionate, kind, caring, exceptional, and brilliant. One student summed up the general consensus about Professor Weerapana. "In short," she wrote, "Akila rocks."

Wellesley fosters an academic culture that emphasizes teaching as its primary mission—and the student-faculty experience has been often heralded as one of the College’s hallmarks.

In 2011, The Best 376 Colleges named Wellesley College as the school with The Best Professors in the country. Students quoted by the Princeton Review said, “Not only are many of the professors notable in their fields, they are all excellent teachers. Classes in all departments are exciting, challenging, and engaging.” They said of Wellesley: “It is a very friendly, respectful, intellectual environment where professors believe in your ability to do great things and the whole world seems to open up to you.”